13 Mar Hansaji on ‘Niyama’ at the Satsang, 10th March 2013
The topic for the English Satsang on Sunday, 10th March, 2013 was ‘Niyama.’
Following is the transcript of the speech made by Smt. Hansaji Yogendra on the topic.
Listen to the Audio:
“The foundation of our life should be strong. In yoga says that the foundation is Yama and Niyama. A person must know what he should and should not do in life. Yamas and ‘Don’ts’ – Don’t get hurt, don’t hurt others, don’t tell lies, don’t steal, control over senses and don’t amass or collect too many things for yourself.
Niyama is what one should do. Yamas are universal, every individual must follow them. Niyamas have to be decided by the individual but the clear guidance is given as to what it encompasses.
Niyamas have been followed by people since ancient times where such household and family activities had become routine. For example, on a full moon night, they would perform certain religious ceremonies. On certain days of the week they would eat only certain food and worship certain deities. This was all based on Nature. They would do these things to maintain a certain balance in Nature. Slowly things changed and when yoga was studied. Yoga says that there should be a purpose behind doing any act. Only if we are in the right state of mind, can we do right actions and so, Niyamas were made to keep one in the right state of mind, to increase knowledge, to work well with society, etc.
According to yoga, instead of just doing Puja (religious act) and fasting, go for a walk regularly, do Asanas, maintain cleanliness, bathe everyday, eat only when hungry, etc. Make certain Niyamas for yourself to remove weakness. For example, if you have pain in the lower back, keep it in mind to make your routines – don’t stand for too long, sleep on the right kind of mattress, do certain Asanas that help strengthen the back muscles, take sun bath, etc. Once the problem is overcome, Niyamas will change to include general health.
Everyone has different Niyamas which they should decide to include everyday, based on their age, needs and priorities. So once this is clear, the five steps of Niyama given in yoga should be followed:
Sauca: External and internal cleanliness. It includes eating right food, maintaining health of internal organs, right breathing, etc. This requires awareness. For cleanliness of the mind and thoughts, read something good, reduce tension, meet good people, go to good places that promote positivity.
Santosa: Contentment. Learn to be happy with whatever you have. Everything is going well. Sometimes, inspite of all the hard work, some people get nothing. At least we are getting something. Be happy with whatever you get and work hard for what you don’t have.
Tapa: Work hard, remove laziness. Be prepared for anything. Sometimes there is happiness, sometimes sadness. Keeping our balance in such opposite situations is Tapa. Santosa does not mean we just sit and do nothing. Hard work is also important.
Swadhyaya: Increase your knowledge about life and about yourself. Watch the changes in yourself and bring about a higher understanding. Read good books, listen to good things. This all comes under Self Study.
Isvara Pranidhana: A little faith should be there in all of us, that a higher power is taking care of all things.
We must watch ourselves and ask whether ‘I have improved a little bit from what I was yesterday.’ Everyday, sit quietly and decided your Niyamas for the day, or rather time-table. If an irritating lady is going to come over to visit, prepare yourself and decide to keep the mind balanced.
If we live life like this, progress is inevitable. If even one small thing is done on a regular basis every single day, progress is there.
However, the regularity in Niyamas has to be there. If Asanas are not done due to any reason, like travelling, etc. it is not called Niyamas. If you do not get 30 minutes for doing Asanas, at least you can do them for just a minute, while bathing, or in bed when waking up in the morning. So Yamas and Niyamas should become part of the personality. They make us strong and pure. And after that, if other things like Asanas are done, there will be progress. Otherwise, if we are doing Asanas physically but have wrong thoughts, it is of no use. If a thief does Asanas and becomes flexible, he will only be able to run away faster. This takes the world in the wrong direction, and that is what is happening today. Yamas and Niyamas are not given any importance and Asanas and Pranyamas are being practiced by all. But still crime is increasing because the foundation of Yama and Niyama is missing. If yoga is practiced in the right way, a person can be very close to God, his growth would be good and he would experience joy and satisfaction. So let us keep trying.”